Possible Candidates to Replace Nicola Sturgeon as First Minister of Scotland

The First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon has announced that she is standing down.

Potential candidates to be the new SNP leader include Angus Robertson, Kate Forbes, Humza Yousaf and John Swinney.

Angus Robertson

Early favorite Angus Robertson is the current culture and external affairs secretary, and a former Westminster leader of the SNP.

The Edinburgh Central MSP has spent many years at both Westminster and Holyrood and has been a big factor in the SNP push for a second referendum on independence.

His odds are currently 6/4 with William Hill.

Kate Forbes
Photographer: Robert Perry/Getty Images

Kate Forbes

The current Secretary for Finance and Economy and a Gaelic-speaker, she was elected to Parliament in 2016 and currently on maternity leave after giving birth to her first child.

The 32-year old cabinet secretary for finance delivered the Scottish government’s budget in 2020 just hours after her predecessor Derek Mackay quit, and was the first woman to do this.

She would be the youngest SNP leader if she won. Her odds are currently 11/2 with William Hill.

Humza Yousaf

The 37-year old health secretary is also in the running. He took over the country’s response to the Covid crisis.

He was appointed in May 2021 and was the youngest MSP elected to the Scottish Parliament at age 26.

He has served in numerous roles and, in 2018, he was appointed as Cabinet Secretary for Justice. He introduced the Hate Crime Bill, which caused controversy among opposition parties.

William Hill is currently giving him odds of 10/1 .

John Swinney

The Deputy first minister could also throw his hat in the ring. When Nicola Sturgeon appointed Mr Swinney to his current role when she become First Minister in 2014.

He has served as Finance Secretary from 2007 to 2016 and the Education Secretary from 2016 to 2021.

Mr Swinney briefly served as SNP leader in the early 2000s after Alex Salmond unexpectedly quit as party leader, but later resigned.

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